Summer in Mexico pt2

I am not the kind that likes to detail our “renovations” in long winded posts or how-to’s. Honestly, I barely know what I am doing as it is. Still, I like to keep my future self reminded (since my current self will forget) of the pains I went through over a period of time in my life. Since I last posted, a lot has been done to Meriwether. It would be a lie to say that we finished the list of things we wanted to do over the 5+ months in port. In fact, we might have just touched on half that list getting completed. This is just how it goes on a boat, even one out of the water.

For example, just as I was finishing up the months long engine work the diesel injector pump gave up the ghost and ran our old Perkins at off or full throttle only (I was thankful off was a choice). This was at the eleventh hour, after it had been sitting doing nothing all summer. A new pump, if I could find one, cost over $2000, and a rebuild would take more than three weeks. We had no choice and sent it off to the east coast for a spa treatment while our splash day was promptly delayed a month. It did eventually come home, got installed, and after a day’s fight with me it worked just fine.

The view from our cockpit for five months. Note all the dust

During that same time we had finally gotten all our raw stainless steel chain-plates sent off to Mexicali for polishing. I gave clear instructions of what we needed done. Or so I thought. Instead of the “polish the top four inches on both sides”, a week later I got our stainless back with “polish both sides in the middle with the 4 inches of each end unpolished”. WTF?!?! So they had to be sent back to Mexicali and re-polished at the cost of a few more pesos and anther week. Language barriers and all.

Meanwhile Kerri was hard at work re-cushioning our cushions. Out was the old foam and in was this space age latex stuff. She also replaced the glass in each of Meriwether’s portlights. The view is important to her. So important for the weeks worth of hard work this simple job actually took. I never would have.

It wasn’t until the week before our new splash day (just after thanksgiving) that I finally finished up all my jobs enough that Kerri could then get in the boat to start one of hers; the galley countertops. They were in dire need of stripping, sanding, and re-staining which stands at 90% complete and look amazing. Meanwhile, I was outside repainting the bottom of the boat – again. Meriwether was looking damn fine in her short black skirt when it was all said and done, and numerous neighbors come over to comment exactly that.

While all of this was happening, we were also moving out of the apartment and back onto the boat. Mostly by hand, in cart loads and backpacks of stuff one load at a time, eventually moving everything back over the course of many days. I could go on about how hard and back breaking it was, but it would just be hyperbole. Over time, in small batches, the move went smoothly and just fine. Compared to everything else, it wasn’t that big a deal

Kerri and I were not all work, work, work. We did get out to visit the Malecon for an evening out. It is nothing special unless you are a tourist looking for cheap trinkets, but Kerri kept saying, “can you really see a place without going to its  Malecon?” I disagreed, but we went anyway. Another of our very rare nights out was for the local Day of the Dead celebrations, which was quite fun. I love Mexico, Mexicans, and the way they celebrate (which can start at 3am with live bands even in residential neighborhoods). They just know how to have a good time, and do so without it being over produced. Good, honest, real fun. I love it.

Turkey day finally came and we celebrated Thanksgiving (aka, killing off a third of this land’s native population by sneezing) by eating too much, under a catamaran, as a big group of “yardies”. All of the cruisers came out to put on a couple pounds. It was nice to meet some of these folks actually. I came to the yard nearly every day for more than 5 months, but came and left so early each day that most of these folks I had yet to physically meet. So, now I did, and will likely forget the names of each and every one while retaining their boat’s name just fine, go figure.

We would be splashing the following Tuesday. While I thought it was a month late, the majority of cruisers in the yard were looking at December, January, or the more common, “mmmm, maybe in 2025”. It is real hard to get a boat put back in the water after it has been on stands for a few months. Once the projects begin, they are truly never ending, and extremely costly. Delays are an obvious reality that can not be avoided. Some delays last for years. Many times, sadly, the boat never gets wet again and rots in the yard for a decade or two until the termites, neglect, and weather finish it off. The life, and death, of a boat is a seriously hard one with no happy endings. Even Meriwether, some day, will rot in a yard somewhere far from here, half way through an unfinished refit.

Splash day came, and after a brief issue of the yard’s lift running out of fuel as we dangled in the straps (so Mexico, by the way), we were gently plopped in the murky water of the Port of Penasco where Meriwether successfully moved to the closest marina and was tied to a dock. After, of course, the obligatory loose hose clamp that needed to be found and tightened. The next day we would find that our muffler was split open, and needed to be repaired. This same issue on a car means we simply have a loud car. An annoyance, yes, but on a boat this problem means we are sinking as the exhaust passes sea water through it, so it leaks and eventually fills the boat with water. Still, this was a timely issue I must admit. It was much easier fix here in town then if we had found it a week or two later anchored at some island. The only issue was removing the muffler which is stuffed well under the water maker I had just painstakingly mounted in place the week prior.

We spent another 12 days in the marina, installing sails, running rigging, tuning the standing rigging, climbing the mast for inspections, re-mounting the damn water maker, stowing everything in their proper places, and just trying to get the boat prepared to make an actual voyage again. It took all of the 12 additional days too, with me only finishing *my half* of the list the afternoon before our early morning departure on the 11th of December, just 6 days shy of six full months in Penasco. Kerri had her own list, which was completed on the final day as well.

I write this blog post at 2am on our overnight passage out of Penasco to the nearest anchorage on Isla Ángel de la Guarda (where all has gone swimmingly, but for another loose hose clamp and a fuel line fitting). We have finally and officially left Puerto Peñasco. Away from the 3am live bands, and the trains that blare their horns the ENTIRE way through town at all hours. Away from the smell of burning trash and plastics. Away from the constant invisible blizzard of sand that covers everything, every day. Away from the stink of pelican poop and fiberglass resin curing. We finally got free.

The Sea of Cortez is calling.

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2 Responses

  1. Bruce Bateau says:

    Looks like a job well done. The galley looks fantastic. May it serve you well. Enjoy being back on the water. Always am inspired by your posts!


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